Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fair or foul II

So OK, presumably all the culprits in the Penn State affair have either been charged, are already in jail, or dead. Likewise, at Ohio State, the head coach that presided over the tattoo-gate affair is gone, as are the players that took part in it. For vastly different reasons, both schools are still under NCAA imposed sanctions and, given their won-loss records, would both be going to a bowl game this year. In Ohio State's case, perhaps even the national championship game could lie ahead. Which brings me to the point --- Like the man said, if you do the crime, you have to do the time, but who indeed now finds themselves behind "bars"?

Near as yours truly can tell, it's a lot of coaches and players that had absolutely no involvement whatsoever with whatever may have happened, other than being employed or playing at the same university after the misdeeds took place by others. Is that fair?  Depends how one looks at it.

Purely hypothetically, let's assume you're a current player at either PSU or OSU. Like many other schools around the country, no one would seriously doubt PSU and OSU are steeped in tradition and loyalties. It could be that your grandparents, parents, and even older siblings have a decades long history of attending that particular school -- perhaps even as athletes. Your childhood dream was to eventually follow in their footsteps. Let's further assume you inherited or were blessed with God-given talent, kept your nose clean through adolescence, and through good old-fashioned hard work became a high school star. You got a full-ride scholarship to go play football at that same school and, after all that hard work, finally you've made it to the "promised land". And what do you find when you get there?

Even if your team is really good, and you're a large part of it, you won't be able to participate in any post-season activities, where the real glory is, because other people messed up.

Sure, schools have to be punished when they're caught in wrong-doing, hence sanctions, because if not we might just as well forget the rules and let everybody run wild. I get that. Still, the point remains that most times innocent people wind up serving the punishment through no fault of their own. The list is long of the offending coaches going on to other jobs and star players that willingly participated winding up in the pros making millions while others that come after them have to do the time.

Some would say that if the innocent players are that good, then there will be a lot of other schools interested in their talents, and they can transfer out to stardom elsewhere. In the Penn State case, without even losing a year of eligibility. That sounds nice, but it's also myopic. It's easy for them to lay back and say you've got a choice, but they haven't walked all those miles in your shoes for so many years or generations either. They don't have a clue what you're going through right now, nor do they seemingly care. Further, they miss a couple important points.

You could have gone to a lot colleges coming out of high school, but your dream was to play for THAT college. Going somewhere else after you're already there just wouldn't be the same. You would have no loyalties or tradition at the next school, you'll have to get used to different teammates and a different system, live in a different city/dormitory, learn a new fight song that you never cared about, etc, etc, etc. This is NOT how it was supposed to turn out because you didn't do anything wrong.

Further, if you're THAT good, you might be displacing another guy on your next team and ruining HIS dream of glory that he also worked his entire childhood for. He didn't do anything wrong either. Your new teammates might resent that a bit.

OK, end of hypothetical story. There can be no doubt that wrong-doings have occurred and punishment is warranted. Yet it's also a fact that sometimes the crooks get to move on to greener pastures while innocent others left behind find themselves absorbing the punishment.

So how can that be fixed to be righteous for all?

I suppose scrapping the whole system, complete with the billions it currently rakes in, and returning all the sports to an intra-mural level probably isn't going to happen, though it would cure the problem.

Other than that, beats the hell out of me. Matters this important should be left in the hands of those with ultimate wisdom, and I don't qualify.

Call your Congressperson. Surely he/she will come up with an ingenious idea and act on it immediately. Congress will rally with bi-partisan support behind this cause and you will have been the catalyst to finally break the gridlock in Washington DC. United, with our heads held high, we will move forward as a nation to become stronger than ever. Once again you will be a star.

On second thought, maybe you'd be better off transferring to Podunk State and taking your chances.....

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